When ancient flying reptiles attack Los Angeles, it's up to two working-class landscapers to save the day.
REVIEW: I'm always on the lookout for new dinosaur B-Movies to review so it's a pretty safe bet that when a new one comes out, it doesn't take me long to track down a copy and have it up on my TV screen ready to go. What always makes the experience better though? When the movie is filled with cheesy goodness and the creators know exactly what the movie is and allows it to have fun - Yes, Terrordactyl is pretty much the dinosaur version of the fun-as-hell Big Ass Spider!
Suffice to say, if you were a fan of Big Ass Spider, you'll be just as big a fan of Terrordactyl. It's essentially the exact same type of movie, with the exact same type of cheesy tongue-in-cheek humor, with the exact same high level of effects, with the only main difference being that this one is about a flock of killer flying dinosaurs as opposed to a single killer giant spider. Actually, if I'm being honest, I thought the effects in this one were even better than in Big Ass Spider. This movie uses a combination of CGI and practical, and it all actually meshed together really well in a way that exceeds my expectations for a movie such as this.
Also like Big Ass Spider, the acting in this movie is phenomenal and everyone has perfect comedic timing, hitting all the right beats at all the right moments, in all the right in-on-the-joke ways. Unfortunately, the one area that Big Ass Spider excelled at that I feel this movie never came close to matching was with the chemistry of the characters. Up to this point I've loved pretty much everything about this movie, however when it comes to the chemistry, this movie fumbles the ball pretty heavily. I don't blame the actors for this, they just work with what they got, but it most definitely is a writing issue, as these characters' interactions with one another came across as more annoying than funny. Why exactly are any of these people friends with one another? The two male leads are supposed to be best friends but they do nothing but fight with each other and seem utterly sick of one another the entire way through the movie. The same for the two girls - they're supposed to be friends as well but it seems like both of them are just annoyed and fed up up with the other one during the entire movie and nobody at all seems to have any chemistry or true proper friendship with one another, save for the romance subplot. Those two had decent chemistry with one another, at least when compared to everybody else in the movie.
Like I mentioned above, the special effects in this movie are nothing short of fantastic, and way above the level of what you would expect from a Direct-to-Video killer animal movie, the likes of which will probably eventually find a home on the SyFy Channel as well. The Pterodactyls (Well that's what they are called in the movie but based off their designs they're probably technically more-so Pteranodons) are created using a combination of CGI and practical effects and both types are simply gorgeous to behold and mesh well with one another, switching back and forth, sometimes in the same scene, and very rarely is it obvious which type of effect it is. I also love how they include many different styles and colors of the dinosaurs, so it's not just the exact same model used over and over for dozens of creatures like in most movies like this, but instead giving a good many of them unique looks from one another, something that is highly appreciated by this B-Movie fan.
The attack scenes are also all a blast in this movie, always careful to never repeat the same type of death scene or chase sequence multiple times over like many of the movies in this genre tend to do. This movie does a great job with keeping each escalating attack sequence fresh and interesting, giving us viewers plenty of visual variety for our eyes to consume, and the filmmakers never shy away from unloading a CGI-fest onto us, sometimes with dozens or even hundreds of the Pterodactyls on screen at once, wrecking havoc across Los Angeles, and never once does the CGI effects suffer or seem to downgrade to lower quality during these fun attack scenes.
With that said, this version of Los Angeles has gotta be the emptiest city in the world. There's never any other people around, nor any other cars on the road, at any point in the movie other than our main cast and the occasional secondary character they have with them. I know having background extras in the movie ultimately costs more, but it still would have been nice to have even just a small handful here and there, running around in the background, just to help establish that it's not just these core people that are having to deal with this Pterodactyl Apocalypse.
Movies just like Terrordactyl, such as Big Ass Spider and Stung, are the exact type of B-Movies that make me fall in love with the genre all over again. Just when I feel like I'm starting to get B-Movie fatigue, or annoyed beyond repair at some of the red tape that B-Movie companies have to deal with that prevents their projects from being as good as I'd like, along will come a movie just like this one that rejuvenates my love of the genre.
Terrordactyl, specifically, may not be perfect, and I was sure to voice my issues with the movie above, as I'm never one to shy away from mentioning what I think could have been done better with a movie, but at the end of the day, when the credits start rolling, what really counts is the way the overall package of the movie made me feel, and this one made me feel very, very happy. I had a total blast with this creature feature and I just wish we had more being released of this caliber, instead of the occasional one every two or three years.
8/10 Rooms in the Psych Ward